THE ORPHAN’S CHILDHOOD
MUHAMMAD (p.b.u.h.) returned to live with his mother in Mecca when
he was about three years old. Three years later Aminah decided to
take her son to visit his uncles in Yathrib. She told her maid,
Barakah, to prepare everything they would need for the long journey,
and then they joined one of the caravans going there.
They stayed in Yathrib a month and Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) enjoyed
the visit with his cousins. The climate there was very pleasant
and he learned to swim and to fly a kite. On their way back to Mecca,
however, Aminah became ill and died. She was buried in the village
at al-Abwa not far from Yathrib. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) returned sadly
to Mecca with his mother's maid. He was now six years old and had
lost both his father and mother. He was then adopted by his grandfather,
'Abd al-Muttalib, who loved him dearly and kept him by his
side at all times.
It was the custom of 'Abd al-Muttalib to sit on a blanket near
the Ka'bah. There he was always surrounded by people who had come
to speak to him. No one was allowed to sit on the blanket with him,
however, except his grandson Muhammad (p.b.u.h.), which shows how
close they were to each other. Many times 'Abd al-Muttalib was heard
to say: 'This boy will be very important one day.'
Two years later 'Abd al-Muttalib became ill and Muhammad (p.b.u.h.)
stayed by him constantly. 'Abd al-Muttalib told his son, Abu Talib,
to adopt Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) after his death, which he did. Abu
Talib had many children of his own, but Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) immediately
became part of his family and the favorite child.
The time came for Quraysh to prepare a caravan to go to Syria.
Abu Talib was going with them and he took Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) along.
It was Muhammad's first journey to the north. After days of travel,
the caravan arrived at a place near Syria where the Romans used
to come to trade with the Arabs. Near this marketplace lived a monk
called Bahira. His cell had been used by generations of monks before
him and contained ancient manuscripts.
Bahira saw the caravan in the distance and was amazed to see that
over it was a large white cloud. It was the only cloud in a clear
blue sky and it appeared to be shading one of the travelers. The
monk was even more surprised to see that the cloud seemed to follow
the caravan but disappeared when the person it was shading sat down
under a tree. Bahira knew from the scriptures that a prophet was
expected to come after Jesus and it had been his wish to see this
prophet before he died. Realizing that what he had just seen was
a miracle, he
began to think that his wish might, after all, come true.
The monk sent an invitation to the Meccans to come and eat with
him. The Arabs were surprised because they often passed by and Bahira
had never invited them before. When the group was all together for
the meal, the monk said, 'Is this everyone?'
'No', someone said, 'a boy was left watching the camels.'
Bahira insisted that the boy should join them. The boy was Muhammad
(p.b.u.h.). When he arrived Bahira said nothing, but watched him
all through the meal. He noticed many things about his appearance
which fitted the description in the old manuscripts. Later on he
took him aside and asked Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) many questions. He
soon found out how he felt about the idols in the Ka 'bah. When
Bahira tried to make him swear by them, as the Arabs used to do,
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said, 'There is nothing in this world that I
They talked together about Allah, and about Muhammad's life and
family. What was said made Bahira certain that this was indeed the
Prophet who would follow Jesus.
Then the monk went to Abu Talib and asked him how he was related
to Muhammad (p.b.u.h.). Abu Talib told him that Muhammad (p.b.u.h.)
was his son. Bahira replied that this could not be so because the
boy was destined to grow up an orphan, and he ordered Abu Talib
to watch over Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) with great care.
There are many stories told about Muhammad's youth. Some tell of
how he used to take the family's sheep to graze and was always kind
to them. While they grazed he would sit thinking about the mysteries
Unlike those around him, he never worshipped the idols and never
swore by them. He also wondered why people were always struggling
for power and money, and this saddened him and made him feel lonely,
but he kept his feelings to himself. He was a quiet, thoughtful
boy, and rarely played with other boys of his age.
On one occasion, however, Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) went with some of
the boys to a wedding in Mecca. When he reached the house he heard
the sounds of music and dancing but just as he was about to enter
he suddenly felt tired and, sitting down, fell asleep. He didn't
wake up until late the next morning and thus missed the celebrations.
In this way Allah prevented him from doing anything foolish for
He was keeping Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) for something much more important.
The Prophet’s Marriage
By the time Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was twenty-five he was famous for
his honesty. He was respected by everyone, even the elders of Mecca.
The purity of his nature increased with the years. It seemed he
had an inner knowledge that other people did not have. He believed
in one God-Creator of the world and he worshipped Him with all his
heart and with all his soul. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was the finest
of his people, the most kind, truthful and reliable person in Mecca.
He was known among Quraysh as 'the trustworthy' (al-Amin) because
of the good qualities Allah had given him. He spent many quiet hours
in a cave in Mount Hira, not far from Mecca, thinking about Allah.
Among Quraysh was a respected and wealthy woman named Khadijah.
She was involved in trade and on hearing of Muhammad's reputation,
sent for him and asked him to take her goods and trade with them
in Syria. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) agreed and left for Syria with one
of Khadijah's caravans. With him went her slave, Maysarah, and they
spent a great deal of time talking together. Maysarah soon came
to admire Muhammad (p.b.u.h.). He thought he was quite different
from all the other men of Quraysh.
Two unusual events took place during this journey which puzzled
Maysarah very much. The first happened when they stopped to rest
near the lonely home of a monk. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) sat under a
tree while Maysarah was busy with some work. The monk came up to
Maysarah and asked, 'Who is the man resting under the tree?'
'One of Quraysh, the people who guard the Ka’bah', said Maysarah.
'No one but a Prophet is sitting beneath this tree', replied the
The second event occurred on the journey back to Mecca. It happened
at noon, when the sun is at its hottest.Maysarah was riding behind
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and as the sun grew hotter he saw two angels
appear above Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and shield him from the sun's harmful
The trading was very successful and Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) made more
profit for Khadijah than she had ever received before. When they
arrived back in Mecca Maysarah told Khadijah everything about the
trip and what he had noticed about Muhammad's character and behavior.
Khadijah was a widow in her forties and as well as being rich and
highly respected she was also very beautiful. Many men wanted to
marry her but none of them suited her. When she met Muhammad (p.b.u.h.),
however, she thought he was very special. She sent a friend to ask
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) why he was not married. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.)
said that it was because he had no money, to which the friend replied:
'Supposing a rich, beautiful and noble lady agreed to marry you?'
Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) wanted to know who that could be. The friend
told him it was Khadijah. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was very happy, because
he greatly respected Khadijah. He went with his uncles, Abu Talib
and Hamzah, to Khadijah’s uncle, and asked his permission
to marry her. The uncle gave his permission and soon after, Muhammad
(p.b.u.h.) and Khadijah were married.
Their marriage was a joyful one and Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and Khadijah
were well suited. Their life together, however, was not without
some sadness. They were blessed with six children, two sons and
Sadly their first born, a son called Qasim, died shortly before
his second birthday, and their last child, also a son, only lived
for a short time. Happily, their four daughters - Zaynab, Ruqayyah,
Umm Kulthiim, and Fatimah -all survived.
For a few years Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) lived a calm and quiet life
as a merchant in Mecca. His wisdom benefited many people. One such
time was when Quraysh decided to rebuild the Ka’bah. It was
a difficult decision for them because they had to knock it down
before rebuilding it and the people were afraid that Allah might
be angry with them for knocking down His sanctuary. At last one
of the wise old men of Quraysh decided to begin, then everybody
They worked until they reached down to the first foundation that
Abraham had built. As soon as they began to remove the stones of
this foundation, however, the whole of Mecca began to shake. They
were so afraid that they decided to leave these stones where they
were and build on top of them. Each tribe brought stones and they
built the Ka'bah up until they reached the place where the black
stone was to be set. They then began to argue about who should have
the honor of carrying the black stone and lifting it to its place
in one of the
corners of the Ka’bah. They almost came to blows but fortunately
one of the men offered a solution. He suggested that they should
be guided by the first person to enter the place of worship. They
all agreed and as Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was the first to enter everyone
was pleased, because they all trusted him.
They told him the cause of the argument and he asked them to bring
a large cloak. They did as he asked, and after spreading the cloak
on the ground. he placed the black stone in the centre of it. Then
he asked a man from each tribe to hold one edge of the cloak and
together to raise it to the height where the stone should be set.
When this was done, he took the stone off the cloak and put it into
This story shows how all Quraysh respected and trusted Muhammad
(p.b.u.h.) and how, by his wisdom and good sense, he was able to
keep the peace.